It’s been a good year in Fayette

I have especially enjoyed this Christmas season as part of your county government. The duties of elected office can sometimes be challenging, but the rewards of service are always worth it.

Our new 2013 Board of Commissioners concentrated on delivering our local government back to the citizens of Fayette County. We resolved to bring as many citizens into the halls of government as possible. We have had great success.

A first for county government, we began broadcasting our meetings on the cable government channel and we provide them for re-play on our county website. We also introduced the “town hall” meeting format where we, you and your elected officials, gather for informal discussions on important topics.

Also a county government first, we now publicly solicit our citizens to apply for volunteer positions on county commissions, authorities and boards. It is truly hard to believe this had not been done previously.

I can tell you that Fayette County has an incredibly deep pool of human capital, and I am in awe of the education, experience and other credentials attached to the people applying to serve. It is extremely humbling to have to tell some of the very qualified candidates they were not selected for a single vacant post because of the wealth of applicants applying when they would have been the star player for other counties.

I am proud to say that your new 2013 Board of Commissioners has publicly recognized record numbers of our citizens and organizations doing good things in our community. We have also recognized record numbers of our children’s accomplishments from elementary, middle and high schools as they bring our county outstanding state and national recognition.

Long-time meeting goers and county staff have acknowledged there has never been more openness and public access in our government meetings. This public access has been all encompassing, including all ages, races and religions.

Your commissioners have attended and addressed local civic groups, schools and homeowners association meetings throughout the year. Our motto is, “We do not leave the meeting until the audience stops asking questions.”

We are now seeing some exciting economic growth in our county. In addition, our home values are strengthening, placing us in a very strong position for 2014.

The county has built strong bonds with our adjoining counties, meaning strategic improvement projects like the interchange at Ga. Highway 74 and I-85 are now receiving priority status.

In my 20 years of residence, I have never witnessed better relations between the governmental entities representing the county, cities and towns.

Moreover, the Chamber of Commerce is to be commended for their inclusiveness and much improved communication with local governments under Peggy Thomas and current Chairman Randy Weaver. I am looking forward to working with Michael Burnett as the incoming chamber chairman for 2014 as he brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the position.

I also want to recognize the new 2013 leadership of the local Fayette County Republican Party. After years of stagnation, we are now witnessing a new openness and inclusiveness that is enlivening the process and encouraging new memberships at an incredible pace.

It has been a delight to watch a diverse group of leaders pull together, build a new headquarters and challenge our citizens to think openly and honestly about the political process.

As the year closes, I ask that you please give 10 minutes back to your county, allowing us the honor of having your thoughts on the future direction we should aim for in 2014 and beyond. Simply go to www.fayettevision.org and complete the online survey. Your opinion counts.

Also, please go to www.fayettecountyga.gov and enter your email address in the colored box on the home page to receive our county email newsletter. This was also created in 2013 to keep citizens aware of what is happening around them.

God bless you. Merry Christmas.

Steve Brown, chairman
Fayette County Board of Commissioners
Fayetteville, Ga.

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